In anticipation of the United States Air Force’s 70th birthday on September 18, Hanscom Air Force Base was the site of a technology and aircraft expo on September 13. Follow this link for more information on this landmark anniversary: https://static.dma.mil/usaf/70/
The expo included both Air Force and civilian personnel, as well as technology partners displaying the results of technical projects aimed primarily at enhancing the reliability and capability of critical communications systems under adverse conditions.
Speakers talked about the work that goes on at Hanscom, and guests were able to visit numerous displays and speak with individuals involved with work aimed at upgrading older communications technology to make it more reliable and capable, integrating multiple communications platforms, improving sensing and tracking capabilities, securely encrypting voice or data communications, designing a WiFi system suitable for battlefield applications, as well as an Air Force “Cloud”.
One project, dubbed the Jungle Hawk Owl, is a 180-pound unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed and built by students and faculty from MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Working in conjunction with Lincoln Laboratory and the Tactical Data Networks branch of the USAF, the UAV is a relatively low-cost vehicle for extended missions (up to 5 days aloft), capable of supporting airborne communications. One Bedford resident, Julie Ramsdell, a civilian employee at the base, has been involved in the administrative and program management aspects of this project, among others.
Another project, the “GATR Ball”, is a highly portable, inflatable satellite dish that can be easily delivered and deployed, either on the battlefield or following a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey, to enable emergency communications.
Following the presentations, guests were invited to the flight line to tour a number of Air Force and NASA aircraft including a KC-135 Stratotanker.
Col. Roman L. Hund, Hanscom AFB’s installation commander, discussed the opportunity to share with the community the work done at Hanscom. “This event was a great opportunity to show congressional staffers, local civic leaders, industry partners and others the exciting work we do and the tremendous professionals who make it happen,” Hund said.